Attack on Titan is an anime that follows humanity after it has isolated itself in three concentric walls to protect itself from Titans. Eren Yeager, our protagonist, dreams of going beyond the walls and thus, begins his journey to fight for humanity’s freedom against the Titans.
With Attack on Titan at the brink of its end, we’re left wondering how this series could be brought to a close? Only Isayama knows the answer to this. The final panel sees a man holding a child and telling the child, “you’re free”.
Speculations regarding this are that the man could be either Eren or Grisha. Attack on Titan has never been one to cut the audience a slack, so I’m assuming the ending to be a bittersweet one. Attack on Titan builds itself on the idea that morality is subjective and that there are good and bad people on both sides. This perspective is seen through the shift in dynamics in Eren’s and Reiner’s portrayal. Given the final panel, it means that freedom has been achieved. But the constant question that remains in our minds is, What is freedom? What is freedom for this oppressed race of Eldians? Is their death freedom? Or is their enemy’s death the freedom? That would mean Eren is destroying the entire world. Their oppression comes from the fact that they are the Titan race that is hated by the world as a whole.
Eren was never truly free, and this series was about Eren’s struggle to be free. Also, to figure out what freedom is for him and the future. His maturity shows when he forgives Reiner and bears no ill will towards him, but he manages to raise a simple yet valid question, why did his mother have to die that day. It makes sense that, by the end, Eren manages to achieve what he’s been trying to do all this while and that child, possibly his and Historia’s, is born entirely free as he wished to be. Grisha had passed on his struggle to achieve the freedom to both his sons – Zeke and Eren. Eren manages to break that cycle and bring forth his child into a free world. The show seeks to put forth that freedom is inalienable and that everyone born into this world is unique and should be free.
No one can take that away from them. What could a free world mean? The destruction of this cruel place. Another recurrent quote in AoT is “The world is a cruel place” – how is a free world still a cruel world? Eren has started to manipulate events, and this radical fight of his against Marley is not going to end peacefully. The world is plagued with war, oppression, the deaths of innocents which cannot be undone unless they have a clean slate. Currently, Eren is the only one who has access to knowledge about the world more than anyone else and of course, us.
Eren’s anger and change in his attitude show that something is going on that we don’t know about accurately. So I’d bet that the manga would end with everyone dying and Eren breaking the cycle by giving the world a fresh start. A new solid history.